At the meeting between Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah and senior leader Chandrakant Patil late on Monday night, the leaders are said to have discussed state Cabinet reshuffle, induction of former chief minister Narayan Rane and Maharashtra BJP’s efforts for Gujarat elections, party sources said .
Fadnavis and Patil met Shah in Ahmedabad around 11pm. Later, Fadnavis told reporters that the meeting had been to discuss Gujarat polls.
However, sources said the Maharashtra leaders also talked about Rane’s inclusion into the Cabinet and about a candidate for the legislative council by-election, scheduled for December 7.
Rane is believed to be pushing to get inducted as minister before the start of Maharashtra legislature’s winter session. He has also demanded that his induction should not be delayed for the proposed Cabinet reshuffle, a source said. While the Maharashtra leaders wanted to discuss this issue with Shah, he suggested it be raised with him in a separate meeting next week.
“It is almost certain that the party will field a candidate in the council elections rather than support Rane so as to avoid a possible embarrassment ahead of the Gujarat polls,” a party leader said, on condition of anonymity. The by-election to one seat in the state legislature’s upper house is being held as Rane quit as MLC. However, if he contests the by-election, it is unlikely that the BJP’s ally, Shiv Sena, will support him, without which it will be difficult for the BJP to get him elected. The BJP and Rane have reportedly decided to not field him in the by-poll and wait until the next round of council elections in June or July next year.
Rane, who floated his own party in October to be part of the NDA, has been waiting for his inclusion in the state Cabinet. He met Fadnavis earlier on Monday and asked for a decision on the induction.
Leaders in the BJP said the Cabinet reshuffle will now be held only after the Gujarat elections and the winter session of Maharashtra legislature.